Seth Martin, MD, MHS, associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University and co-director of the Center for Mobile Technologies to Achieve Equity in Cardiovascular Health (mTECH Center), gives a preview of his presentation on digital divides at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2021.
Seth Martin, MD, MHS, associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University and co-director of the Center for Mobile Technologies to Achieve Equity in Cardiovascular Health (mTECH Center) gives a preview of his presentation on digital divides at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2021.
Can you discuss some of the themes that will be presented in your talk at AHA Scientific Sessions 2021?
I'm really excited about AHA. This is an awesome time to connect with colleagues around the world, and our team has a bunch of presentations at Scientific Sessions. I'm going to touch on some of what we're covering.
One of the presentations is going to be featuring the progress that's been made in our Mobile Technologies to Achieve Equity Center, the mTECH Center. There, I'm going to be speaking about what we've been doing from a health equity standpoint to improve stroke diagnosis and, in addition, to improve the management side after somebody had a cardiovascular event—like a stroke, like a heart attack—to improve management through a virtual cardiac rehab program.
What digital divides are most common in health care settings and how do they affect health care delivery?
We're seeing digital divides kind of across the board with respect to Internet access, with respect to ownership of smartphones, with respect to ownership of wearable devices. So this is really important for us to consider and address head on so that—as we really roll out technologies that empower people to take a more active role in their health care and achieve better outcomes—this is really accessible to everyone and really delivers improvements in outcomes across the population. The digital divide is not a new issue, but I think, as the pandemic has pushed us into this really digital world of care, it's even more pressing that we address it.
As we look across ages, as we look across sociodemographic factors like income [and] education, we see evidence of a digital divide. A fundamental level is access to technology. Another level of this is the technologies, you know, being able to even use it. There's a divide in terms of digital health literacy. And that kind of ties in with a third level, which is just the design of whatever technology software that patients are going to use, that it's really intuitive and meets their end needs. And I think these 3 components are each very important for having technologies really empower all and serving as a tailored tool to really level the playing field in achieving the best possible cardiovascular health.